The Month in Transportation – August

By John Halpin | Associate Account Director

Welcome to our latest review of news from across the transportation world.

Every month, we’ll share interesting links, thoughts and more about the transformation of transportation.

It’s a boat! It’s a plane!

Boston-based Regent aims to turn sea lanes on the east and west coasts into high-speed transportation corridors, according to this Travel & Leisure article. Regent’s seaglider – a “boat-meets-plane hybrid vehicle” – can hover a few meters above the water, and then rest on the water once reaching its destination.

Regent plans for the all-electric seagliders to “operate six times faster than traditional ferries and to have double the range of electric aircraft at half the cost.” Think NYC-to-Boston in two hours, or Los Angeles-to-San Diego in less than an hour, without all the pesky choppiness of the water.

Regent hopes to fly an unmanned prototype later this year, with commercial passenger availability in 2025.

Shipping: No captain or combustion engine required.

Norwegian chemical company, Yara International, has developed what it calls the world’s first zero-emission, autonomous cargo ship. Capable of carrying 103 containers and with a top speed of 13 knots, the Yara Birkeland will use a 7 MWh battery with “about a thousand times the capacity of one electrical car,” according to Jon Sletten, plant manager for Yara’s factory in Porsgrunn, Norway. The ship is expected to make its maiden voyage later this year.

EVs to get a makeover?

“The future of car design is all about skateboards and top hats.”

According to this Wired article, automobile aesthetics will become much more flexible when the internal combustion engine goes away. The argument goes something like this: Performance is relatively similar from car to car, so the differentiating factor might be design. And there’s nothing in the way of making design very different.

“The size and position of electric motors versus combustion engines allow for shorter overhangs, more compact, sportier front volumes and allows for more interior space within the same footprint,” said Maximillian Missoni, head of design at Polestar.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a good start. Inside and out, it looks like nothing else on the road. This Page-Roberts design would take things even further, with a rear-facing back seat.

Want your package faster? Cargo bikes might help.

We’ve all done more online shopping over the last 18 months. A London-based study suggests that cargo bikes can get your packages delivered 60 percent faster than vans, with a lower carbon footprint. Our friends at the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab found mixed results on the same subject in a 2020 pilot test with UPS, with trucks delivering more packages than cargo bikes even though the trucks spent 50 minutes per day looking for parking.

Eco Transportation Trends

Trend Hunter recently published a report including August’s top 30 eco transportation ideas. Some of the items mentioned look familiar – off-road e-bikes, hydrogen-powered aircraft and electric skateboards, among others – and it has plenty of other interesting examples.

Number 1 on the list? Bed-hybrid bicycles. No, we’re not kidding. The Cercle adventure bike features a foldable day bed, and is “engineered to allow the user to sit, cook, work, rest and even sleep.” Sorry, but did they say COOK?

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